Organization and Equipment
The principal units of the UDF in 1993 were one mechanized infantry
brigade, one armored brigade, two infantry brigades, one artillery
brigade, and the Royal Guard, organized along brigade lines. The
Central Military Command of Dubayy supplies one infantry brigade.
Major weapons include French AMX-30 main battle tanks, of which
an additional twenty-five tanks are on order. The Central Military
Command separately purchased Italian OF-40 Mk 2 Lion tanks. French
armor predominates throughout the army; it includes reconnaissance
vehicles, infantry fighting vehicles, APCs, and 155mm self-propelled
howitzers (see table 41, Appendix). Negotiations were reportedly
under way in 1992 for the purchase of 337 M1A1 tanks from the
United States. The UAE also has a variety of older British armored
vehicles, many of them in storage, as well as Brazilian APCs.
The army's antitank guided wire missiles include twenty-five TOWs
from the United States, some of them mounted on Urutu chassis,
as well as French Milan and HOT and the older British Vigilant
systems. Because of difficulties of coordination between air-
and ground-based defenses, the operation of air defense missiles
was shifted to the air force in 1988. The army's tactical air
defense is limited to 20mm and 30mm guns.
The most powerful units of the UDF navy are two Lürssen corvettes
delivered by Germany in 1991, similar to those of the Bahraini
navy. The corvettes are supplemented by fast-attack craft and
large patrol boats.
The air force is organized into two fighter-ground attack squadrons,
one air defense squadron, and one counterinsurgency squadron.
The fighter-ground attack squadrons are equipped with Mirage IIIs
and British Hawks, the latter with a combined attack and training
role. The fighter squadron is composed of Mirage 5s and Mirage
2000s. The counterinsurgency squadron is equipped with the Italian
Aermacchi. In addition, the air force has four early warning aircraft.
A number of French helicopters are armed with Exocet, HOT, and
other air-to-ground missiles. In 1991 the United States agreed
to the sale of twenty Apache attack helicopters after the administration
overcame objections in Congress by pointing out that the helicopters
were needed to defend the UAE's oil platforms in the gulf and
to enable the UAE to contribute more effectively to the deterrence
of aggression by Iraq.
The existing air defense system is based on one air defense brigade
organized into thirteen batteries armed with Rapier, Crotale,
and RBS-70 SAMs. Five batteries of improved Hawk missiles were
being formed in 1992, with training provided by the United States.
Data as of January 1993